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TCS to strengthen brand with New York Marathon

NewYorkMarathon

NewYorkMarathon

The world’s most popular marathon will now be known as TCS New York Marathon from this year.

India’s largest technology solutions company – Tata Consultancy Services (popularly known as TCS) – has become the title sponsor of the premium running event which attracts 50,000 runners. The race dates back to 1970 when 127 runners raced four laps of Central Park.

The New York City Marathon offers advertisers an opportunity to reach affluent professionals, as the event attracts 2 million live spectators and 330 million viewers on television.

The previous sponsors, ING, did not renew the contract, as the American banking and insurance giant re-organised their business. “As part of our rebranding effort, we will be focusing our sponsorship and philanthropic efforts more directly on supporting financial literacy,” an ING spokesperson told the New York Times.

The New York Road Runners (NYRR) – the organisers of the racing event, signed TCS as the title sponsor for the next eight years beginning 2014.

This year’s race will be held on Sunday 2 November, and the registration for runners close as early as 18 March. The event is expected to attract more than 100,000 applications from runners.

It’s not just the runners and viewers that TCS wishes to target. The US$11.6 billion tech giant has a very young workforce – the average age of its 300,000 staff is 27-28 years. TCS runs Fit for Life programme in 44 countries for its employees – the fitness programme has every employee registered already. TCS expects its employees to complete 5 million kilometers this year.

The Indian tech giant has a commitment to investing in the health and wellbeing. “We think that that is fundamentally important even for students to study well and have a better career and so on. This is the theme we have taken,” N Chandrasekaran, chief executive of TCS, said in a television interview.

However, building brand recognition is at the core of this relationship. “As we become larger and larger, it is very important for people to know what we stand for, because people come across TCS all the time.”

On its part, the New York Road Runners is keen to strengthen the technology tools used for the event, with the help of TCS.

TCS is creating mobile training and runner tracking apps and software for real-time race results and on-site information. TCS has been a technology consulting partner for NYRR since 2010.

“There is a lot of technology that goes into running a major marathon and in getting people healthier and fitter all year round and what a difference it will make for TCS when people see that we become the most technologically advanced marathon in the world and that we have a lot more people running,” said Mary Wittenberg, chief executive of New York Road Runners.

The new TCS New York City Marathon website is designed to help runners plan their race day, and use tailored coaching plans through the online training programme and information about how to participate as part of a charity team, such as NYRR’s Team for Kids.

TCS has also sponsored similar Marathon events around the world including Amsterdam, Berlin, and Mumbai – the Tata Group‘s home city.

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Rahul Gandhi’s interview draws funny reaction

Rahul Gandhi, vice-president of India’s Congress Party, has caused a lot of reaction following his interview to a leading television channel.

According to reports, the Congress had arranged the interview of the possible prime ministerial candidate with NDTV. However, the plans were later changed in favour of another television channel, Times Now, presumably for its higher viewership.

On hindsight, the reaction may have been less satirical if the Congress had stuck with the original plan.

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Kejriwal’s honesty jokes trend on Twitter

Kejriwal

Aam Admi Party’s spectacular victory in the recent assembly elections in New Delhi created an overnight brand – Arvind Kejriwal. His brand of honesty has even become a trending topic on Twitter, with a hashtag, #YoKejriwalSoHonest, leading on the social marketing site.

 

 

 

 

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Indian killed in Auckland

Indian killed in Auckland

Tarun Asthana, who was assaulted in downtown Auckland a day before Diwali, has succumbed to his injuries in Auckland Hospital.

The 25-year old trainee teacher was victim of what police described as a random attack near Britomart train station in the wee hours.

A man has been arrested for assault.

Indian killed in Auckland

According to a NZ police statement, Asthana was outside the train station when he had an exchange of words with another man.

The attacker punched  Tarun in the head who fell “heavily”, striking his head on the pavement, Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Florence said.

Tarun’s friends and eyewitnesses said the attack happened after Tarun complimented a girl on her dress.

“She had a go at him because she thought he was hitting on her,” Eddie Lo, who is Tarun’s friend said. “Then her boyfriend runs up and smashes him in the head and runs off. He was just complimenting her and she went psycho.”

It is not confirmed whether the attacker, 27-year old NZ Navy sailor Grenville David McFarland, was known to the girl.

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Cheapest Ways To Heat Your Water

how to lower water bill

What is the cheapest way to heat water – gas or electricity? That’s the question commonly asked with increasing electricity prices.

As of April 2013, water bills in the UK increased by as much as 5.5 per cent (3.5 per cent on average). Not only that, we have to pay for heating our water, too.

There are many methods and options available when it comes to heating water, though your main water supply will usually be heated by your central heating system – this is either stored within a tank or cistern, or if you have a combi boiler, hot water is available on demand.

Combi boilers are thought to be more energy efficient than heating water using a cistern or tank system. Other ways of heating water include solar hot water systems, electric showers and immersion heaters.

how to lower water bill

The prices of these heating methods vary; for instance, an electric shower can cost anywhere from £50 right up to £700. If you decided to take the solar route, a water heating system could cost you around £5,000.

Standard immersion heaters generally cost around £150 for purchase and installation (around £120 of that is for the installation itself).

How much of our energy is used for heating water?

It’s difficult to tell how much energy we used to heat water, because it’s particularly tricky to measure, especially when factoring in the energy your gas boiler uses to heat your home.

However, a typical home uses over 10 per cent of their energy on heating water, or around a quarter of the fuel which the boiler uses to heat your home.

After all, hot water is a requirement all year round, whereas heating is dependent on the season.

The real cost of your hot water should also take into account your water supply – in some cases, this can be just as high as the price you’re paying to heat it.

Unlike gas and electricity suppliers, you can’t just switch your water supplier. The market, although privatised, isn’t open to competition which means you can’t easily do an energy comparison, and you’re really left with two options which boil down to how you’re billed.

You can choose whether to change from rateable bills to having your own water meter, and some households in England and Wales could save hundreds of pounds per year by switching.

Rateable Bills

Most homes in England and Wales pay their water bills using the water bill system, where they pay a fixed price based on the home’s rateable value, meaning the amount of water you use is irrelevant.

The simplest way to think of it is, the more you can rent your home out for, the more you’ll be paying for your water.

Unfortunately there are no plans in the works to change this system, and no real way to get the value of your home re-assessed. Scotland have their own system based on council tax bands, and Northern Ireland have no domestic water charges.

Pay as you go?

Already around 45 per cent of homes have water meters, which means your bills are charged at fairer rate, going by how much water you use. These meters calculate your sewerage bill too.

Before you decide to install your own water meter, it’s smart to figure out whether it’d really be a wise investment that could save you money. The easiest way to do this is by going on the amount of bedrooms you have in your home.

If you have bedrooms equal to or more than the number of people living in your home, it’s probably a good idea to look into getting a meter installed – unless you live in Scotland, where doing so isn’t free and can actually cost you quite a bit of money.

Lowering your water heating bills

Back to heating your water, there are some steps you can take to reduce you water heating costs:

  • Choose carefully how you choose to heat your water.
  • Be practical about when you choose to heat your water.
  • Try to only heat your water when necessary.
  • Try heating your water to a lower temperature.
  • When you’ve heated your water, make sure you use it and don’t let it cool down before you do.

R Newman is an energy writer who has been writing since 2007. He has worked in various marketing and creative positions over the past six years and has a BA (hons) in English Language and Creative Writing. His energy related work can be found online as well as in print.

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Never leave kids alone in car – Plunket

not safe to leave child in car

A New Zealand-based parenting NGO is reminding parents not to leave children alone in cars after the latest incident in Porirua.

Passers-by spotted a 17-month old child left alone in a car at a Porirua supermarket earlier this week. When rescued by police, the toddler was crying and covered in vomit, according to a news report.

Sergeant Maurice Parker told media a window was wound down, but the car was heating up in the sun.

Plunket Clinical Advisor Allison Jamieson said the risks of leaving a baby or young child alone in a car were significant.
not safe to leave child in car

“It’s never safe to leave a child alone in a vehicle, even for a short time. Babies, particularly newborns, can dehydrate quickly and become very distressed.”

In New Zealand, it is illegal for a parent or guardian to leave a child under the age of 14 alone for an unreasonable time or in unreasonable conditions. Doing so could result in a fine of up to $2000.

People have been prosecuted for leaving children in cars in the past, says a police spokesperson. “But equally, short of prosecution, they may well be referred to Child, Youth and Family.”

Instances of children left alone in cars have resulted in casualties not just in New Zealand, but in many other countries.

“In the U.S. this year there has been a total of 23 children that have died from heat stroke inside vehicles and two in Canada,” says Amber Rollins, with Kids and Cars, a U.S. advocacy group, reported a Canadian media outlet. “In the U.S., children have died from heat stroke in vehicles on days when the temperature was in the lower 60s.”

What to do if you see a child left unattended

“The first step is to call 911, explain exactly what is happening and do what they tell you – they might tell you to break the window,” says Toronto EMS spokesperson Kim McKinnon. “If you can’t call 911, get them out of the car as quickly as possible.”

why not to leave child in car

Keep your child safe

Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies. (Source: Washington Post)

Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. If a child is missing, check the car first, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.

Keep a stuffed animal in the carseat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver. Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.

Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school.

 

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Batman: Can Ben Affleck Cut It As The Dark Knight?

With Christian Bale retiring from the role of the Dark Knight, much speculation surrounded who would be the next Batman.

Everyone had their own fantasy preferences – many being wishful thinking of course – but eventually it was revealed who the next Batman would actually be.

The big revelation: it was Ben Affleck. The internet exploded in anger.

Mr Unpopular

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this choice was not a popular one with Batman fans.

Many took to internet forums and social networks to express strong disapproval for the casting choice.

A petition on change.org managed to gain well over 50,000 signatures within a few days of the Affleck announcement, asking for him to be removed as Batman.

Reasons cited included his acting ability, past roles, personality and public perception. Some fans went as far to saying he would ruin the Batman legacy completely.

But, were the fans justified in their extreme disapproval or just doing what passionate fans generally do on the internet – acting without thinking and being selfishly overprotective of their favourite art? There is merit to both sides of the argument.

Fans perhaps have the right to be angry about Affleck’s appointment in regards to the actors’ portfolio. Ben Affleck has never been considered a critics darling in his acting roles – many harsh critics might even say he cannot act at all.

Like many Hollywood mainstays, he’s starred in more bad movies than good ones. He’s had success recently though in a directorial role with The Town (2010) and Argo (2012).

However, the real sticking point for Batman fans is his only superhero movie to date, Daredevil (2003), which was a flop with audiences. His lacklustre and comical performance in that film is precedent enough to justify that Affleck can never be Batman.

Another reason why so many are against Ben Affleck is because of his typecast role. Affleck is seen as a light-hearted, inoffensive, comic relief type character and not a serious actor by comparison to other action movie stars.

The role of Batman, in the eyes of fans at least, requires someone who is able to be strong, mature, threatening, dark and brooding – adjectives that haven’t been used to describe Affleck’s acting style.

However, Affleck may have matured and grown as an actor due to his time in the directorial hotseat, so these criticisms may no longer be valid by the time the new Batman film hits cinema screens in 2015.

Fan Overreaction?

Fans are probably being far too precious about the Batman acting role though, or their memories are short.

Batman, in the past, hasn’t always been a character that’s portrayed as dark and moody.

Adam West, George Clooney and Val Kilmer have all delivered light-hearted Batman performances and it’s only recently, with Christopher Nolan as director, that Batman has been taken more seriously as a character.

These performances were never critically lauded, but they were certainly more carefree, and realised the subject matter wasn’t ultra-realistic. Batman’s new role in future films where there is a crossover with other DC Comic characters will likely break the concepts of Nolan’s Batman universe, so a change of style in the form of a new Batman isn’t that absurd.

Although fans pine for the return of Christian Bale, his Batman performance was never perfect. Bale played a very good Bruce Wayne, but once in the Dark Knight’s costume he wasn’t as assured.

A common criticism of Bale’s acting as Batman was his fake, gravelly voice. It was borderline laughable and broke a lot of the seriousness that Nolan expected us to believe of his Batman universe.

Angry fans also have a history of overreacting to change in their favourite media, and are often proven wrong by writers and directors. This could be a classic case of people thinking they know best, but not realising what they need until it’s given to them. Batman fans in the past were highly critical of the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker, as strange as that might seem now.

Ledger went on to put in a show-stealing performance in The Dark Knight (2008), in what has come to be one of the most definitive portrayals of The Joker. Yet, just like with Affleck, fans used his acting portfolio to question the casting choice.

The critics that used romantic comedies such as 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) as a stick to beat Ledger with, were silenced by his iconic role as The Joker.

In this Batman outrage saga, the best thing fans can possibly do is to calm themselves and wait for the first Ben Affleck film to be released – perhaps get a T-shirt to pass the time.

If they’re right and he’s not good for the role, then they can be smug and justifiably call for him to be axed, but until then there’s not enough solid evidence to suggest Affleck cannot be Batman.

Be patient Batman fans and put away your pitchforks. The truth is that even the most dedicated fans are not always right. Dismissing Ben Affleck at such an early stage could be the biggest mistake you ever make.

John Garrett is a nerdy movie blogger who finds amusement in geek culture’s regular outrages. (Images: Creative Commons image source and image source )

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Best New Apps For Your IPhone, Android

With Google and Apple working hard to introduce the latest advancements to their operating systems, freelance app developers have been working equally hard to produce the most useful apps for like-minded customers.

This guide lists five of the top apps for both iPhone and Android phones for the UK, dissecting the best picks for both of these operating systems, and leaving their respective app stores at your mercy.

TuneIn Radio

TuneIn Radio is arguably the best internet radio app for Android or iPhone available today. The user-friendly interface opens the gates to over 70,000 radio stations and two million podcasts delivered right to your phone wherever you are, and all for free! Whether you’re into blue grass or metal, Romanian news channels or sports commentary, you’ll find it all within TuneIn Radio’s exhaustive listings. Treat your ears and tickle your fancy with stations from all over the world operating around the clock, all streamed through this powerful app.

UGO

UGO Cab Finder offers a taxi booking app for both the iPhone and Android, to get you home as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

The intuitive and user-friendly app is just the tip of the iceberg, though, since the service you will receive as a result of the app is second to none. Simply type in the point of departure, the destination, and the date and time you need your cab and let the powerful UGO engine do the work in finding you a local taxi service at a price that suits you.

It’s nationwide across the UK so you’ll never be stuck again without the number of a taxi after you install the UGO app, no matter where you are!

Pocket

Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is a cleverly designed app perfect for those who don’t have much time on their hands between tasks, or who have patchy mobile reception and need to make the most of every scrap of signal they get.

This free app allows users to ‘pocket’ web pages and videos of interest for later use, and even gives the user the ability to sync these precious snippets with other devices to make it even easier to keep up-to-date with reading tasks.


Snapchat

The now ubiquitous Snapchat app brands itself as ‘real-time picture chatting’, and boasts that it is up to ten times faster for sharing pictures than standard MMS services.

Snapchat is built on spontaneity, conferring upon its users ability to capture glimpses of their special moments and share these with friends and family. While some users attempt to use the app for strange pass times, the majority use this powerful and free app to capture the transient beauty of a sunset, or the burst of excitement felt upon seeing a particular sight.

Skyscanner

If you’ve been looking for an intuitive way to compare the millions of flights offered by thousands of airlines worldwide, and to shop for the lowest prices supplied by these airlines, as well as the best deals offered by travel agents, Skyscanner is the best way to go.

Just select your ideal holiday location and dates of travel, pick a few quick options, and let Skyscanner’s clean and hassle-free interface do the rest. You’ll never go back to price comparison sites or manual data mining after experiencing the power of this free app.

The guide above should provide you with the information your require to make an informed decision about the best apps for your particular device, and leave you enlightened as to which apps are the hottest on the market today.

Gary Smith is a tech blogger who loves to follow the latest developments in the world of apps, games and all things techy.

Featured images:

License: Creative Commons image source

License: Creative Commons image source

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OPINION: Is Gandhi still relevant?

mahatma gandhi, non-violence

Today, we see violence everywhere – we have Syria; we have Egypt, we have the US, the UK and India. Name a country and we’ll find a conflict brewing. Except in a few nations like New Zealand, civil strife is killing people in every place with human settlement.

It is so widespread, that there’s no need to introduce or explain violence to the person in the street. Yes, non-violence is a theme that begs explanation.

Here’s an example. “Today, in class I argued how non-violence is also a form of violence. Happy birthday Gandhi,” tweeted one Shubhashish (@Shubhashish), a former Indian journalist now in London.

So, is Gandhi relevant in these turbulent times?

Today, any person that has heard of Gandhi has an opinion about him. Do you need to read Gandhi to understand his experiments with truth? Or are the history books taught in the school enough to help form an opinion about India’s ‘father of the nation’?

mahatma gandhi, non-violence

You wonder what this has to do with understanding Gandhi’s relevance today. Everything!

You see, the trouble is, we have discarded Gandhian principles without even reading a single article written by the freedom-fighter. And he wrote many. In fact, the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi runs into 100 volumes. “As Sunil Khilnani observes, like Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi wrote English well enough to have made, if he had so wished, a living through journalism,” writes Indian author Ramachandra Guha.

How many of us have read Gandhi? I am not referring to the intellectuals, but to the ordinary citizens.

The problem with India, as Indian actor and social activist Shabana Azmi once said, we have far too many opinions than information.

The problem lies in interpreting Gandhi without really understanding what formed the basis of his philosophy.

However, India also has intellectuals who are well-read and well-informed. Their opinions are based on facts. And when they raise questions about the usefulness of non-violence and non-cooperation in today’s violent situations, it deserves attention.  This is where we must beg the question: will Gandhi be useful in solving the problems in say Syria, North Korea, Egypt or India?

What would Gandhi have done in Syria? Would the Assad regime have reacted in the same, violent way had the rebels chosen the path of non-violence? Likely not. Anger begets anger. But it is difficult, rather unnatural, to respond to peaceful protests with excessive use of brute. Of course Gandhi would be relevant in Syria.

What about India? If the Indian leaders show similar commitment to truthful governance, as Gandhi did, would we witness similar violence in the four corners of the country?

Let’s get to the bottom of this: the common factor behind all violence and strife around the world is religious or ethnic division. If we look back at India’s history, the disastrous consequences of mixing politics and religion were known to us thousands of years ago. Gautam Buddha preached the use of ethics over religion in public life.

The Dhammapada states the general ethical principle: “Never in this world is hostility appeased by hostility; it is appeased by lack of hostility.”

I will therefore leave you with a story from ancient India, in the words of British professor Richard Gombrich, “A great king of former times tells his brahmin priest and prime minister that he wants to …raise taxes. His wise prime minister warns him that the country is full of crime. He says: “Your Majesty may think that he can root out all crime by killing the criminals, imprisonment, fines, censure or exile. But this will never succeed completely: there will always be survivors, who will go on harassing your kingdom.

“Here is the only system which will eradicate crime. Your Majesty should supply seed and fodder to those who work in agriculture or animal husbandry; he should supply capital to those who work in commerce; he should organize food and wages for those who work in his service.

“Then those people will concentrate on their work and not harass the countryside. Your Majesty will acquire a great pile. The countryside will be secure, free from public enemies. People will be happy, and dandling their children in their laps will live, I think, with open doors.”

(Vaibhav Gangan is the founding editor of The Global Indian magazine. Follow Vaibhav on Twitter.)

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Kiwi developer releases ‘Get Home Safe’ App

Safety app for iPhone android

With violence against women getting more gruesome and frequent in India, a new mobile application by a New Zealand developer could offer some safety help.

The free app privately monitors users’ location during an activity or task and raises a pre-set alarm if they don’t ‘’Get Home Safe’.

The app could be helpful for women returning home late at night, elderly going for a walk, children walking home from school alone,  and people working unsupervised.

App users register with GHS what they intend on doing, such as walking home after dark, and the time they will be ‘home safe’, for example in 15 minutes.

The app records GPS location data and  watches over the user’s movements throughout their chosen activity.

Safety app for iPhone android

If something unforeseen happens and the user doesn’t stop or extend tracking as planned, an alarm is raised and the GPS information is sent to pre-selected personal emergency contacts.

As the alarm is sent from the GHS servers not the phone, users don’t need a working phone or coverage for the alarm to be raised.

“GHS actually calls for help when you can’t, it’s truly amazing and really could save someone’s life,” says Kiwi entrepreneur Boyd Peacock, who developed the app with design company Firebrand.

“Who knows you’ve gone for that run or bike ride? Who knows you’re walking home late at night from the pub or bus stop, or that you’re driving the back road home this time?

“Who knows where your secret fishing spot is? Who knows exactly where you are working this afternoon? Who will know if you don’t get home safe?

“Regular alarms prompt you to check-in, so if you ever did need help the alarm would be raised far quicker and your last location mapped by our servers,” he says.

Boyd wishes to provide  ‘peace of mind’ for families with teenagers doing after school or weekend activities, especially as so many youngsters now have phones.

“GHS is not your mother, your boss or big brother and it’s certainly not the police. GHS does not judge or ask probing questions”.

“The neutrality of GHS provides a guardian for the activities in life that may carry a small element of risk giving people reassurance that their actions are being privately monitored should anything unforeseen happen.

While the app is free to download from iTunes app stores, it is free in the email alert only format. Within the app users can also choose to buy pre-paid text messages for 50 cents each, with a minimum purchase of $2.59, and use the text alert method. Unused text alerts are credited back to users if they check in on time.

Kiwi entrepreneur Boyd Peacock creator of Get Home Safe app_media

Users can opt to send their emergency contacts a pre-trip itinerary to allow them to follow the activity in real time or share ‘home safe’ summaries via social media.

The GHS idea was inspired after Boyd read about a boating accident in Southland’s Foveaux Straight in 2012 when a group of fishermen’s boat sank with all their mobile phones and emergency equipment on board.

“I thought to myself, if only someone was monitoring the use and location of a smart phone on board it could have been apparent much earlier that the fishermen had capsized and even where it happened, the alarm could have been raised much earlier,” Boyd says.

“GHS sends alarms independently of mobile phone coverage so if the fishermen had set regular half hour alarms with GHS then the alarm would have been raised as soon as they missed their first check-in and their last known location identified,” he said.

While the app is currently available only in Apple’s New Zealand App Store, it will be rolled out into the New Zealand Google Play store for Android users late August and then internationally in coming months.

 

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NZ drivers exposed to high pollution – study

Simon Kingham

New Zealand’s clean-green image may be mis-leading motorists, as a new study has found that, despite New Zealand’s major cities having less congestion and lower traffic than other big cities in the world, they still produce high commuter exposure to finer pollution particles.

New Zealand’s University of Canterbury (UC) transport expert Professor Simon Kingham (pictured below) has led a major project with other researchers from the University of Auckland and NIWA, collecting data from New Zealand’s main cities of Christchurch and Auckland.

Simon Kingham

The study, a first for New Zealand, found that the air that Kiwi commuters breathe while travelling is similar for fine particulates for some of the world’s biggest cities.

“The air inside cars is generally more polluted that the air in buses, trains and for cyclists. People cycling on the road experience significantly worse quality air than people cycling on routes away from roads.

“While people travelling by bicycle on roads travel in cleaner air, they can be exposed to higher peaks of pollution than other travellers.

The results are surprising. “This was one of the first studies worldwide in a city with little or no long range transport of pollutants, lower population density and relatively little traffic congestion and, consequently, in an environment where the traffic is consistently moving, albeit sometimes at a slower speed.

“Despite this, the result showed that occupants in cars are exposed to the poorest air quality.

“It is widely accepted that transport emitted air pollution has an adverse effect on health outcomes such as mortality, morbidity and hospital admissions.

“In addition the economic costs can be great. It has been estimated that each year there are 500 cases of premature death in New Zealand due to exposure to air pollution.

“We wanted to investigate the issue of air pollution to gauge how significant it was in a small city such as Christchurch.

“Previous studies have taken place in larger or more densely populated urban areas with significant traffic congestion,’’ Professor Kingham says.

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Old Sikh man beaten in US

An iron bar was used to viciously attack a fragile Sikh man in his 80s, outside a Gurdwara in the US, in what is suspected to be a hate crime.

According to local media reports, Piara Singh, an 82 year-old Sikh man, was severely beaten on 5 May with an iron bar outside Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib in Fresno, California.

Piara sustained significant injuries, including head injuries, broken bones and ribs, and a collapsed lung, say reports. The suspect was arrested at the scene and the police are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime, a US-based community group (the Sikh Coalition) said in a statement.

Piara remains in the hospital in serious condition. The local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Fresno Police Department convened a community meeting at Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib, where the police chief identified the suspect as Gilbert Garcia.

Piara is still unconscious, with 20 stitches and broken bones and ribs, according to media reports.

“This is a hate crime,” Gurdev Singh Muhar, a priest of the Fresno Gurdwara told local media.

The incident has shocked ethnic community groups who are speaking out and expressing solidarity.

“We stand with the Sikh community in rejecting the religious and ethnic hatred that leads to such brutal and cowardly attacks,” said Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

A Sikh community group has appealed to show courage. “As always, we urge all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly,” said The Sikh Coalition. “If you or someone you know ever experiences violence or even a threat of violence, please report the incident to your local police department immediately by dialing 9-1-1.”

With a little less than 500,000 population, Fresno is multi-ethnic Californian town with 1.7% Indian population, and 50% white people.

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Vaibhav Gangan’s Review: Aashiqui 2

Aashiqui Shraddha kapoor Aditya Kapoor

There’s typical love story and then there’s Aashiqui 2.

The typical story goes like this. Boy meets and falls in love. Girl likes him. They overcome obstacles. Love triumphs, and they live happily thereafter.

Aashiqui 2 however starts on a sad note. The protagonist Rahul Jaykar (played by Aditya Roy Kapoor) is a rockstar with a career and fame on a decline – duly ruined by alcoholism. Been there, done that, disillusioned. He falls in love with a struggling singer Aarohi Shirke (played by Shraddha Kapoor), who has given up on her dream of making it big.

He takes her under his wings, and makes her a successful singer. In the process, she too falls in love, while his career nose dives.

Aashiqui Shraddha kapoor Aditya Kapoor

Taken to heavy drinking, he becomes a professional and personal wreak. She puts her career at stake to dig him out of addiction.

They reach a point where it would be all or none for both of them. They want to cling together, but that would mean that they both may go down. However, separation is not an option. What do they do?

It’s like a story of a night-insect that is attracted to a light bulb, and pays with his life for that infatuation.

The story isn’t very unique – it’s a mishmash of emotions of jealousy, distrust and misunderstanding, and finally empathy and ultimate sacrifice.

What touches the chord is the honesty of delivery, and refreshing absence of over-acting, unnecessary dramatization of scenes, and sensitization of dialogues.

While the movie could have been a bit pacier, and the direction a bit finer, you still enjoy the sincerity of execution. The audience is driven into the constant conflict of a lover torn between his addiction and his love.

You fall in love with the girl from a modest background, who wants to live her dream, and yet is committed to throw it all away for a man because he believed in her when she had lost her self-belief.

That tug-of-war of emotions hooks you in, and you are kept there by soft music that plays along, like a kayak floating on a tide. The sensual  music (composers Mithoon, Jeet Ganguly and Ankit Tiwari) is a great companion to a story of passion.

Aditya Roy Kapoor, though not outstanding, plays a relatable character. The real charmer is Shakti Kapoor’s daughter, Shraddha Kapoor. Not only does she stand her ground but also makes you fall in low with her. She shows a consistency of character, and while the story finally weighs heavily in favour of Aditya and wins your sympathy, Shraddha wins your heart.

The younger generation, used to faster pace of story-telling and more ‘practical’ approach to relationship, may find it hard to relate to the near-idealised story. Those grown up with older movies will  likely enjoy the journey.

Arijit Singh, a former contestant of music reality show Fame Gukukool, has sung most of the songs, which are memorable and passionate.

All in all, a sincere execution of an ordinary story, which is enacted with conviction by an almost new pair.

Film: Aashiqui 2

Director: Mohit Suri

Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor

Shraddha Kapoor Hot bollywood naked

 

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Akshay Kumar is new Gabbar

Akshay Kumar Gabbar

Rawdy Rathore Akshay Kumar will be reportedly wooing Barfi girl Ileana D’Cruz in the new movie Gabbar. Their romance is being conceived by Black-man Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Expectations will be high from Gabbar following a successful association of Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the Rs 100 crore film – Rowdy Rathore last year.

Akshay Kumar GabbarA remake of the hit Tamil film ‘Ramanaa’ (2002), Gabbar is about India’s most popular subject – fight against corruption, and is being directed by South director Krish (Gamyam and Vedam) who makes his Bollywood debut.

Akshay’s recent success with Special 26 has put the 46-year old actor in a league of versatile stars of Bollywood.

Behind the camera had also become a producer, partnering with Ashvini Yardi for Grazing Goat Pictures, which produced National award-winning OMG: Oh My God.

This year will be critical for Akshay who is already shaping his next cinematic venture, a film with eclectic director Karan Johar, titled ‘Gutka’.

Akshay is also playing the lead in Ekta Kapoor’s new gangster film “Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Again”. He was recently spotted promoting the film at IPL, along with co-actors Sonakshi Sinha and Imran Khan.

The Padmashree-awardee made his Bollywood debut with Saugangh in 1991, but it wasn’t until Khiladi in 1994 that the Delhi actor tasted success on the silver screen.

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Canada launches online tool for new migrants

jobs in vancouver

Canada has launched a new guide and web tool to help newcomers settle and integrate in the country.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new publication, Welcome to Canada, will assist immigrants in preparing to come to Canada and to help them navigate their way during their first months.

“The new edition shows our commitment to helping the citizens of tomorrow experience a smoother transition into their new community and into the Canadian workforce,” says Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Twice as long as the previous edition, the new guide is developed in consultation with several federal partners and experts in the field of integration, and has been reviewed by new immigrants.

jobs in vancouver

The guide features practical information on many different topics including how to access language classes, basic information about Canada’s education system, laws and the justice system, the labour market and much more.

For the first time, the Welcome to Canada guide includes examples of immigrants to Canada who have successfully integrated. The guide was enriched by advice and anecdotes from Nick Noorani, himself an immigrant and an expert who specializes in immigrant integration and career outcomes.

“Canada has given me more than I could ever have dreamed of,” says Nick. “And through my experiences I can help future immigrants succeed in Canada and this guide is a big part of that.”

This is the first time the Welcome to Canada guide has been revamped since it was first introduced in 1997. Like  Discover Canada citizenship study guide, Welcome to Canada is available in PDF or E-book format.

Similarly, the immigration department launched another interactive tool – Living in Canada Tool, also intended for newcomers. The new tool comes on the heels of the success of the Come to Canada Wizard, the online immigration assessment and application tool,

The Living in Canada Tool produces a semi-customized settlement plan filled with tips, next steps, and useful links based on user responses to the initial questionnaire. Users can also find local immigrant-serving organizations with the integrated Find Services map, and can bring with them their customized settlement plan for additional, personalized support.

To help newcomers integrate, the Government has tripled settlement funding since 2005-06 and remains committed to ensuring the distribution of settlement funding is fair, that immigrants receive the same level of service, regardless of where they choose to settle, says the immigration minister.

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Murdoch calls Australia’s visa restrictions “racist”

Australia-born media owner Rupert Murdoch has strongly condemned Australia’s new 457-visa rules for foreign workers.

Rupert says the language the government uses is “disgraceful and racist,” referring to 457-class laws that guide how employers should hire skilled staff, reported Agence France-Presse.

The 21 percent growth in the number of 457 visa workers in one year has exceeded national employment numbers, says Australia’s Labor Party. “The program is being increasingly driven by temporary visa holders seeking to remain in Australia instead of the demands of the Australian labor force,” the government’s immigration department said in a statement.

The Australian Government is taking measure to control the visa abuse, a move being  criticized by Rupert.

“I think the way that they’re talking about the 457 is pretty disgraceful and racist, but I’m a big one for encouraging immigration, I think that’s the future,” Rupert told Sky News.

“A mixture of people — just look at America — is just fantastic,” the News Corporation chief said.

 “There are difficulties for generations of migrants sometimes if there are too many from one area, but they meld in a couple of generations and it leads to tremendous creativity in the community.

“Skilled migration was vital to economic growth in Australia’s north, which is in the grip of a mining and resources boom with billions of dollars of investment slated for the coming years.

 

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NZ airport charges to increase

Auckland international airport

Airline passenger security charges paid by airlines for departing passengers are set to increase in New Zealand.

The international charge will rise by $3.98 to $11.98 (GST inclusive) and the domestic charge rise by $0.90 to $4.60 (GST inclusive) per departing passenger from 1 June 2013.

These increases come after two years of reduced charges, introduced to eliminate a projected $27 million accumulated surplus by June 2013, says NZ Civil Aviation Authority Chairman Nigel Gould.

Auckland international airport

“When the reduction was announced in 2011, the government signalled that passenger security charges would need to increase again from 2013, once the accumulated surplus had been redistributed to air travellers,” Nigel says.

“These new charges better reflect the actual cost of providing screening and other security services at our airports,” he says.

A difficult trading environment is also a contributing factor, says general manager for the Aviation Security Service Mark Everitt. “Two airports have ceased international flights (Hamilton and Palmerston North) and we have not met our budgeted passenger numbers as a result of the global financial crisis.”

“The Aviation Security Service is committed to ensuring the security of our airports across New Zealand and the safety of the domestic and international travelling public. These increases ensure this service will continue.” Mr Everitt said.

India has seen a similar trend, with India’s busiest airport – the Indira Gandhi International Airport, run by GMR Group’s Delhi International Airport (Pvt.) Ltd,  hiked aeronautical charges by 346%, in May 2012.

Also, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, run by GVK Group’s Mumbai International Airport (Pvt.) Ltd, increased aeronautical charges by 164% from 1 February.

But some major international airports are ducking the trend, and in fact lowering the charges, to attract more passengers in the slow economic market.

The Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport in the US owned by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth is the world’s fourth busiest airport with 58 million passengers passing through every year, Dallas airport has seven runways, the most in the world.

“The airport has a generous incentivization programme with discounts and rebates on landing charges for two years for new airlines”, says Luis E. Perez, vice-president, air service development, DFW International Airport, in a LiveMint report.

Dallas Airport

“We have a $60,000 marketing fund for airlines to promote the airport as a new destination for the first year. And if it’s a new airline, we have $250,000 for marketing assistance and another $150,000 to promote the destination. And we are a profitable airport,” says Perez.

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Sydney to launch cultural policy

Work in Sydney

“Imagine borrowing musical instruments at the library; evening childcare so parents can have a night out; or unsold theatre tickets going to high school students,” says Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore.

Clover is keen on improving the Australian city’s cultural landscape, and is seeking ideas from people who live, work and visit Sydney.

“These are just some of the ideas that have emerged so far as we ask Sydneysiders what kind of cultural life they want in the city.

Work in Sydney

“Can we inspire an even richer creative culture? How do we make sure creative people can afford to live and work here? What persuades people to get involved, go out to shows or invest in local work?”

Sydney is drafting its first cultural policy which will work towards improving the use of its assets, offering the right activities, and helping cultural and creative communities to flourish.

Creative industries are the fastest-growing sector in Sydney, contributing an estimated $8.2 billion to the Sydney’s economy in 2012, and expected to account for $14.9 billion of Sydney’s gross domestic product by 2030.

The last Census in 2011 showed 32,000 people working in creative fields in inner city Sydney, an increase of 22.2 per cent since 2006.

The City already invests $34 million each year in free public events, libraries, public art, grant programs and sponsorship of the city’s major arts festivals.

“As arts funding from other levels of government and private investors becomes  uncertain, we need to work (on) how best to support creativity and culture,” the Lord Mayor says.

The city will look at eight areas of improvement for Sydney, including optimising markets for cultural products.

Ralph Myers, who has been artistic director for Surry Hills’ landmark Belvoir theatre since 2011, and has worked across dance, circus, film and opera, is looking forward to sharing his ideas for the cultural policy.

“We’re thrilled by the prospect of a Sydney cultural policy, both as a way of taking stock of the rich artistic life of this fine city, and as a stimulus and inspiration for the generation of even more great stuff,” Ralph says.

“Hopefully it will define culture in the broadest possible terms, both to remove the arts from the elite and shrinking ghetto to which it is so often confined, and to make us all think as openly and playfully about how we can best enjoy life in this great town.”

Performer Vashti Hughes (picture below), whose one-woman cabaret show Mum’s In has been running at the Kings Cross Hotel since last year, said a cultural policy would provide support to independent artists like herself.

Vashit Hughes Mum's In

“Mum’s In applauds the City of Sydney’s first cultural policy as a way to help support interesting and diverse work that is created by Sydney artists,” Vashti says.

“As the city grows, independent artists can fall through the cracks and become invisible so it’s great to see the City get behind the arts and help provide structures so they can be seen and heard.”

The consultation period for the Creative City Cultural Policy Discussion Paper ends  31 May.

To share your ideas, visit sydneyyoursay.com.au

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How to win back your boyfriend

save your relationship

Seema tried Roy’s number three times since morning, but there was no response. As she tried to ring him again, she saw a text message. “It’s over!” The fight they had the night before was about Seema’s night out with her male friends.

Wouldn’t it be great if all relationships were happy all of the time? Maybe, but we all live in the real world, and that means we often face real problems.

Sure, they may start off really well, and the two of you are so in love that it’s amazing, but then things start to change. The novelty starts to wear off, and before you know it you’re looking for relationship rescue methods in the hopes of staying together. If any of this sounds familiar, then you are not alone. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do, as you will see.

save your relationship

How to save a relationship

The most important thing for you to realize is that your relationship is worth rescuing. If you disagree with this, then you need to find out why. What other things are going on? Why aren’t you so sure about making things better? If there is something holding you back, you will need to fix that first before you move on to working things out. From here on out we will talk as though you truly want to improve as a couple.

Taking each other for granted is one of the biggest threats to having a strong relationship. However, this pattern can be hard to detect because, well, you’re taking things for granted. The way to combat this is to take a step back and look at things objectively.

Then try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and ask yourself how you would react to your behavior if you were them. Also, do your best to stop taking them for granted. Don’t assume anything about their motives or feelings, but at the same appreciate the things they do.

You will need to reopen the lines of communication. If they were never really open, then you will have to learn how to talk to each other in a healthy way. This can be difficult, but you can learn how to do it with practice. The small investment you make in learning how to talk to each other will pay off in a big way in the long run; besides, it sure beats arguing all the time.

A really good relationship rescue technique is to live as though each day could be the last one you will ever spend with your partner. When you do this, all of those little things that annoy you won’t really matter. You will have a new appreciation for what you have, and you will focus much less on the negative things. Doing this will put the two of you on the right track to being a healthy couple.

Remember, you do not have to accept a bad relationship. You can use relationship rescue techniques to make things better. It may not always be easy, especially if you have had a lot of time to develop bad habits as a couple, but it will be more than worth it when the two of you are happy again.

How to win back boyfriend

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Be gentle on your skin this Holi

Holi

As the Hindu festival of colours comes closer, people are getting ready to paint the town red, green, yellow, blue and many imaginable colours. While these colours look beautiful and add ‘colour’ to the celebration, your skin begs to be protected.

What makes it worse for your skin is the coincidence of Holi with the change of season, which is when your skin is vulnerable.

However, your concern for your skin shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the festival of Holi. Here are a few skincare tips for Holi:

Holi skincare

BEFORE HOLI

Cover your body with clothes as much as possible. This would give lesser stains and less contact of colours on to the skin. Wear turtle necks, full sleeves T-Shirts. Avoid wearing short pants.

Remember, Holi colours are full of chemicals, and in some cases may even contain glass particles. Go for organic colours. Organic colours are not only safe and dry but are easy to get rid off from the skin.

Hydrate yourself well before the night of Holi. The more hydrated you are, the lesser colour would your skin hold. Drink good amount of water and moisturize well.

Hindu festival holi

ON THE DAY OF HOLI

First moisturize your skin with a thick moisturizer or a cold cream and then apply a high SPF Sunscreen to all exposed body parts. You may also apply olive oil optionally instead of the sunscreen. The oil would not let the colour stay on your skin and it would slip down easily. Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on the finger tips, behind the ears and on the side of the nose. This wouldn’t let the colour to stay in these parts and avoid any cause of irritation in the skin folds.

Oil your hair well to avoid accumulation of chemicals in the hair and scalp.

AFTER HOLI

Remove the colour while it is wet. If the colour dries up it’ll be absorbed by your skin.
Do not use harsh soaps to take out colour. Use moisture-based soaps or start with cleansing milk.

Use lukewarm water to remove the colours. You may also go for home remedies like a mixture of soybean flour and milk. Use lemon wedges on the areas of stubborn colouration.

Do not panic if the colour doesn’t go in one wash. It would keep coming out with every shower if you would hydrate your skin well.

Also consider some general skin-care tips. There are diverse ways that people can do to recover the health of their skin and to get better tone naturally.

For a healthy skin, follow these tips closely: have as much water as possible; apply jojoba oil; scrub the skin; use sunscreen, maintain a balanced diet.

Among the tips discussed above, drinking water is the most important habit to form.

Many skin-conscious women are realizing that natural beauty products and skin care tips are far better than some of the well known brands from the most expensive shops.

Amidst the glamour of top cosmetic brands, the role of water in improving the skin is taken for granted. Even though there have been disputes about drinking at least 8 glasses per day as part of beauty tips, health experts strongly believe that somehow, water ingestion is responsible for the general health of the skin.

(Priyanka Tyagi is a Cosmetologist for Skeyndor in India)